A man accused of participating in the killings of a reality TV star and three others acknowledged handing down the orders, a federal prisoner testified Friday.
Michael Mease said he first met Denny Phillips when the two were housed in the same penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.
“He said there were women in the house who were pregnant,” Mease testified. “He told me it had to be done so there were no witnesses.”
Among those slain was Brooke Phillips, 22, a prostitute featured in the HBO series “Cathouse” about a legal brothel in Carson City, Nev.
Prosecutors allege Phillips orchestrated the November 2009 killings of Brooke Phillips (no relation), drug dealer Casey Mark Barrientos, 32, and two other women at an Oklahoma City drug house.
Also killed were 22-year-old Milagros Barrera and 25-year-old Jennifer Ermey.
Prosecutors said the victims were shot, stabbed and burned in a fire.
Phillips is charged with six counts of first-degree murder because Brooke Phillips and Barrera were pregnant. He also is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Mease testified about Phillips telling him he planned the murders with co-defendant David Tyner and Phillips' girlfriend, Samantha Stanton.
“He told me they were in a car one day talking, and he told Tyner how he wanted it to go,” Mease said.
“Tyner would kill the people and torch the house, and Samantha was going to take Tyner out of state as an alibi.”
Hearing is scheduled to resume Tuesday
A judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to try Phillips, 34, who is under heavy security because of his leadership role in a prison gang.
Stanton is expected to testify Tuesday when Phillips' preliminary hearing resumes.
A man who ran from the house when he heard gunshots was set to take the stand Friday but did not appear.
Jose Fierro managed to elude Tyner by climbing into a tree, his attorney said.
A police detective identified Denny Phillips as a “war chief” of a prison gang, the Indian Brotherhood. He now is at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., where Mease testified the two met for the first time in February 2012.
Prosecutors believe Phillips was at the drug house, either outside or inside, at the time of the attack.
Mease, a native of Iowa, is serving federal time for possessing a firearm.
He testified that Phillips told him he wasn't at the murder scene but “was there watching.”
also testify Friday
Another witness, the defendant's former girlfriend, told a judge Phillips described the killings in such detail it gave her the impression he witnessed them.
“He liked to brag,” Kelsey Day testified.
Day said Phillips told her Brooke Phillips didn't die easily, that “she was still screaming” after being shot, stabbed and burned.
Barrientos, a drug dealer with ties to the Mexican cartel, was the intended target of the attack, prosecutors allege.
Police identified Denny Phillips as a distributor who made frequent trips to Oklahoma City to pick up drugs and take them back to the Tulsa area.
Phillips and Barrientos had a falling out in the days leading up to the slayings because Phillips owed him $30,000 and had not made payments on a car he bought from Barrientos, a third witness testified Friday.
Michael Lujan, a convicted drug dealer serving time, said Tyner did whatever Phillips told him.
Lujan testified that Tyner was looking to gain membership in the Indian Brotherhood and wouldn't have killed Barrientos unless Phillips directed him to do so.
“I figure, he needs to get what he deserves,” Lujan said as he looked in the direction of the heavily tattooed Phillips.
Prosecutors allege Phillips acted with Tyner, 30, who already has been convicted in the case.
Tyner, of Locust Grove, is serving six consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders.
Tyner was charged in 2009 and pleaded guilty in May to the murders.